Parenthood can be incredibly hard, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. The prospect of taking care of a helpless person can be frightening too. If you’re on a tight budget, the average parenting fears can be taken to all new heights. Luckily, there are a lot of programs out there that can help you find peace of mind and a sense of security as you raise your child. These ten programs are all great assets to just about every parent, so make sure you plan ahead to utilize some of these programs now or when your first child finally does arrive. You will be amazed by how much the assistance can reduce some of the burdens you’re experiencing.
1. Women Infants and Children (WIC)
If you’ve ever paid close attention in a grocery store, then you’ve probably noticed little labels that say WIC under some of the products. WIC is a government program that is designed to help women get the nutrition they need for their children. In order to join this program, you will have to have an eligibility meeting. During this meeting, you will be asked a few questions which will include information about your household’s income. If you have children, then they might have a nutrition check, which will include drawing blood to test levels of certain nutrients like iron. If you are approved for the program, you will receive money monthly that can be used for specific WIC items. These will be items with a special sticker in the store. You will be able to get a certain amount of milk, cheese, cereal, juice, baby formula and more to help offset the cost of groceries, so your child can have a healthier diet.
2. Baby Box
Expecting mothers won’t be able to resist the Baby Box program. In many countries in Europe, Baby Box has been a common thing for generations. This program allows expecting mothers to receive a box full of items to help make their little one at home without burdening the parent. Best of all, the box doubles as a bed for infants, which helps to reduce the chance of SIDS. In the United States, Baby Box is steadily growing steam with some hospitals offering the new boxes whenever a mother gives birth. Some states even offer the box to women who are willing to go through the online sleep training course. The boxes are free in these cases, which can help reduce a huge burden for many parents. However, if your state or hospital doesn’t offer the box, then you can still purchase your own on the Baby Box website. The price might seem steep at first, but when you get your box, you’ll be thrilled to see all that it comes with.
3. Baby Center
Pregnancy and the early years of parenthood can be mysterious, exhausting and frustrating. Baby Center is here to help you out though. This free app and website offer a wide assortment of helpful information to educate you about your pregnancy, infant, toddler, and preschooler. You will find a lot of different videos that show off each week of pregnancy. Each week provides tips to improve your health during this crucial time of your life. You can look up a lot of interesting information about your pregnancy too, which can help put a lot of people’s minds to ease, especially if they can’t afford to consult a doctor over every burning question. You can also join the forum that will help with advice. Even after your birth, you will find handy information to help your child grow in the best possible ways.
Schooling can be a heavy burden on the budget, especially when it comes to things like Headstart, which aren’t typically free. Luckily, the government has a program to help out parents that might need a bit of help in this department. Studies show that children who attend a Headstart program will do much better in school in the future. So, you won’t want to miss out on the opportunity. If you are a low-income household, you might find that Headstart won’t cost you a penny. Even if you don’t qualify for free Headstart, you can still receive a smaller tuition price if you do meet certain requirements.
5. Nurse-Family Partnership
Pregnancy and post-partum periods can be exceptionally challenging for the entire family. That is why you should look into the Nurse-Family Partnership. This program exists in almost every state, so you should be able to enroll without a problem. The program is designed to help support the family during the trying times of adding a new family member to the household. A nurse will either visit or call expecting mothers to ensure that everything is going according to plan. The nurse will ask the mother a series of questions, listen to concerns and even help with depression symptoms. After the baby is born, a nurse will still check in for a few months to ensure the mental and physical health of everyone in the home. If you can’t get into this government program, you might check with your insurance. You might be surprised that many companies offer this service now to ensure the optimal health of everyone.
Keeping active is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself and your family. There are many programs that can help you do this, but one of your most cost-effective options is the YMCA. This program has been around for generations now and they offer packages that will benefit the entire family. Best of all, if you purchase a membership for your entire family, you will save a ton of money. The YMCA offers many wellness programs, after-school activities, and recreational classes. You can even sign your child up for sports through the program. Of course, one of the most common things to do at the YMCA is hit the pool, so even if you don’t buy a membership you will still have a cheap alternative for keeping cool in the summertime.
7. Safe Kids ID Kit
Back in the 80s and 90s, everyone knew about Safe Kids ID Kits; however, the hype has slowly died down over the years. Luckily, the government will still provide you with a kit, which can help save your child in an emergency. The kit comes with a picture ID card and puts your child’s fingerprints on record, which can help with recovery if a child is abducted or lost. You can find these kits at community events, your local police station or simply by visiting the official website for the kits. So, don’t wait to get your child’s safety kit.
8. Dolly Parton Imagination Library
Unfortunately, literacy is still a problem in some areas of the United States. Many children don’t have access to books of their own too, which might cause a lack of interest in reading. Luckily, there are many programs that can help ensure your child falls in loves with a book. One of the best options is the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. This program isn’t offered everywhere, but if you’re lucky enough to have it in your region you will receive an age-appropriate book every month for each child in your household. You can sign your child up at birth and the books will keep coming for several years. Of course, if you don’t have the program in your area, you can sign up for updates, so you’ll know when the program is available for your child.
A lot of parents gravitate toward scouting, which is a great program. However, there is another option available that is also affordable. This option is 4-H. If you’ve ever been to a stock show, then you’ve probably witnessed 4-H kids showing off the animal that they raised. Although livestock is a huge part of 4-H, it isn’t the only option. For starters, your kids can take culinary classes to help improve their basic life skills. Another option is science classes, like entomology, which will intrigue older children. Agriculture is another big part of the program, which is very important in today’s environmentally trying times. Children can raise animals for the program too, but you will have to buy your own animal in order to participate. If your child does choose to sell the animal, they might see a profit from it. However, the cost of care will be on your budget while the animal is in your child’s care.
10. MOMs Club
All moms need a support system. However, it isn’t always easy to find friends that have kids similar in age. Worst of all, maintaining old friendships can seem increasingly hard as you face parenthood. That is where the MOMs Club comes into play. This club is designed to help moms socialize, vent and have fun with other moms. The club can be a huge asset to any parents and has chapters across the United States. Generally, the club gets together for playdates, lunches or even just a whine session to help moms feel less alone in their frightening parenting role.
Becoming a parent can be one of the most exciting things you’ll do. However, it can also be very difficult when you take your budget into consideration. These ten programs are designed to help families achieve greatness without forcing them to spend a fortune. You’re certain to find something that will help improve your child’s fitness and education levels while also improving your own. You may even find the programs help put your mind to rest, especially when it comes to finances.